Have you looked at the multitude of logos and labels that come on products and food nowadays? So what do they all mean? My Green Australia have done the leg work and found out all the labels and what they mean to make it easier for you to make choices about what you buy!

ENERGY STAR is an international standard for energy efficient electronic equipment. It was created by the US Environmental Protection Agencyin 1992 and has now been adopted by several countries around the world, including Australia.The Australian Government and State and Territory Governments are cooperating through the national ENERGY STAR programme to encourage the use of energy efficient equipment at home and in business.
ENERGY STAR reduces the amount of energy consumed by a product by either automatically switching it into a ‘sleep’ mode when it’s not being used and/or reducing the amount power used when in ‘standby’ mode

Office equipment

While most office equipment now has the potential to save energy in this way (i.e. it is ENERGY STAR compliant), not all machines, particularly PCs, have actually been enabled so that the energy saving features are activated.

Home electronics products

ENERGY STAR compliant home electronics products have their energy saving features already activated when you buy them. If your TV, VCR or DVD complies with the ENERGY STAR standard, it will consume around 75% less energy in standby mode than standard products do. Because products like these spend more than 60% of their time on standby, this can add up to a significant reduction in energy use.

The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme labels a range of products for water efficiency, helping Australian households to save water and money.When WELS began in 2005, projections were made on the reduction in the demand for water and energy to the year 2021. Since then, a more recent study has been completed (in 2008) which shows even greater savings than the 2005 projections. By 2021, Australians could save more than one billion dollars through reduced water and energy bills by simply choosing more efficient products.
GreenTag(R) is recognised by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and New Zealand GBC as a third party certifier equivalent to GECA. GreenTag(R)LCARate is a world first life cycle assessment based product rating certification ecolabel that has just been nominated as a finalist in the 2011 International Green Awards for Creativity in Sustainability. LCRate rates products as ‘Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum’ based on an Eco-point score incorporating health and ecotoxity, Biodiversity, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (or sink potential, corporate social responsibility and in-building efficiency.
Gas energy labels  are similar in format to those found on electrical appliances, except they are blue in colour and with annual energy shown in MJ. The gas labelling program is currently an industry voluntary scheme that was once managed by the Australian Gas Association (AGA).
Windows Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) rates the energy impact of windows in housing anywhere in Australia. With up to 40% of a home’s energy for cooling or heating being lost or gained through windows, improving their thermal performance reduces energy costs and Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.WERS is a proprietary scheme whose members agree to a formal code of conduct and participate in an annual audit.
WERS results can only be claimed and used by WERS members. WERS members can be found in the members search
Rainforest Alliance certification is a comprehensive process that promotes and guarantees improvements in agriculture and forestry. Our independent seal of approval ensures that goods were produced in compliance with strict guidelines protecting the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities. We in addition prepare tourism businesses to meet the standards of various global tourism certification programs through training and technical assistance, and work with companies on procurement of sustainable goods.
UTZ CERTIFIED is responsible for creating an open and transparent marketplace for agricultural products. In just over five years UTZ CERTIFIED has grown to be one of the leading coffee certification programs worldwide, and is now expanding to become a multi-commodity program. UTZ CERTIFIED’s vision is to achieve sustainable agricultural supply chains, that meet the growing needs and expectations of farmers, the food industry and consumers alike.With its in-depth Code of Conduct, the program gives independent assurance of sustainable production and sourcing and offers online real-time traceability of agricultural products back to their origin.
Australian Certified Organic (ACO) currently certifies about 55% of the Australian organic industry and we estimate the bud logo appears on about 70% of all certified organic product in Australia.Educated consumers are happy to pay a fair price for the guarantee that the organic produce they purchase is supporting farmers who aim for ecologically sustainable practices.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) runs an exciting and ambitious program, working with partners to transform the world’s seafood markets and promote sustainable fishingpractices.Our credible standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability seek to increase the availability of certified sustainable seafood and our distinctive blue ecolabel makes it easy for everyone to take part.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
The ECO Certification logo is a globally recognized brand which assists travellers to choose and experience a genuine and authentic tour, attraction, cruise or accommodation that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The ECO Certification program assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based tourism experiences.The ECO Certification Program is a world first.  It has been developed to address the need to identify genuine nature and ecotourism operators. It is also now being exported to the rest of the world as the International ECO Certification Program.
The EarthCheck Program is used by more travel and tourism organisations than any other around the world. It validates the carbon claims of the largest accommodation providers on the planet and guides them in their sustainability initiatives.
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to over 3450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development at beaches/marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services.
The Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) is one of Australia’s most experienced and reliable carbon management organisations. It was established in 2006 for the purpose of promoting awareness and action on climate change.CRI’s services and philosophy are centered on providing solutions which make carbon management easy for any organisation. We deliver reliable reporting on emissions impacts as well as reduction opportunities which make a real difference.
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between farming practice and plant, animal, human and environmental health.Today the Soil Association is the UK’s leading organic organisation, with over 200 staff based in Bristol and Edinburgh and working as certification inspectors across the country. The Soil Association’s director is Patrick Holden, who reports to the Council of Trustees.
The Carbon Reduction Label is a visual symbol of a brand’s solid commitment to reduce their impact on the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification.PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system.  Our credible standards seek to transform the way forests are managed globally – and locally – to ensure that all of us can enjoy the environmental, social and economic benefits that forests offer.
Formed in 1986, The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) is the nation’s leading organic certifier – focused on providing quality, cost efficient organic certification services. With operations both in Australia and Overseas, the company provides certification and inspection services, which assist in facilitating market access throughout the world for NASAA certified organic product.Through its role as a certifier, NASAA is committed to developing and maintaining organic standards; assisting operators in gaining organic certification; and conducting ongoing compliance supervision and inspection of certified operations.
FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
GreenPower is a government accreditation program for renewable energy. It is bought by your energy provider on your behalf.Renewable energy is generated from sources like mini hydro, wind power and biomass which produce no net greenhouse gas emissions.When you choose to buy a GreenPower product the few cents extra you pay in addition to your electricity account each day is invested in the renewable energy sector.
The Gold Standard Foundation is a non-profit organization under Swiss law that operates a certification scheme for premium quality carbon credits.The Gold Standard Foundation registers projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that contribute to sustainable development and certifies their carbon credits for sale on both compliance and voluntary offset markets.
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an international verification initiative dedicated to enhancing workers’ lives all over the world. We work closely with a growing number of companies that produce clothing and other sewn products and that take responsibility for their supply chain.
FWF keeps track of the improvements made by the companies it works with. And through sharing expertise, social dialogue and strengthening industrial relations, FWF increases the effectiveness of the efforts made by companies.
The Good Environmental Choice Label is the only environmental labelling program in Australia which indicates the environmental performance of a product from a whole of product life perspective for consumer goods. The label is awarded to products that meet voluntary environmental performance standards which have been created and assessed in conformance to international environmental labelling standards. The program is internationally recognised and growing in demand and awareness throughout different industries. On this website you will find information about certified products, environmental labelling in Australia, and the objectives of the program.
The Mobius Loop is an internationally recognised symbol to define whether something (e.g. packaging) is recyclable. Plastic packaging sometimes also displays the Plastic Identification Code (see below). The PIC does not define whether a packaging item is recyclable in the domestic kerbside recycling system. For example, flexible plastic packaging such as film is not recyclable but some items display the PIC.

Plastics Identification Code

The Plastics Identification Code identifies the type of plastic resin a product is made from. The Code makes it easier for re-processors to identify and separate used plastics for a range of new applications. Consistent with the waste hierarchy, single and mixed materials can be recycled into a range of new products or converted into energy.

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Thanks to PACIA and Anthony Peyton at GreenChip for his amazing wealth of knowledge!

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